KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 2: Winter 2015
Flash Fiction: 585 words [R]

Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera

by Alexis Rhone Fancher

There’s a reckless streak in me I can’t control. It makes me do dangerous things. I know it’s wrong, but I always fail, no willpower at all. The thing about Wayne, I tried to keep my distance, but he was hot, sexy in a middle-aged sort of way. He reminded me of some of my father’s friends. I thought we were kindred spirits. “I dream about you at night,” he said, his voice husky, low. His breath smelled like clove gum and cigarettes. “I dream you do everything I tell you.” He stepped into the small office in the back, came back with a Polaroid SX70, smiled and handed me the camera. “I want you to go into my office, pull down your panties, spread your legs and shoot a photo for me. You know what I want. Something really hot.” The phone rang. He picked it up. “Wayne’s Volkswagen Repair.” He turned back to me, leering. “I’ll make it worth your while,” he said. I sat on the cold metal stool at the counter, legs crossed, black skirt riding up my thighs. It was a long way from Shangri La. Fenders and transmissions littered the floor, tools hung on pegs nailed into the walls, and half-rebuilt engines balanced on benches and worktops. Every surface was covered with a layer of greasy dust that mingled with Wayne’s ever-present cigarette and made the air heavy and hard to breathe. What was it about these sleazy places? I felt sick. My stomach bottomed out with that familiar, crazy swirling. Sickening, but I still craved it. Bad girl with a bad habit. Very, very bad.

I clutched the camera, watched the dust particles swirl in the light shafts from the open door. I could leave, follow the light right out to Lakewood Blvd. Get away this time, before I got in past my depth. Instead, I looked inside to where the light ended, where it spotlighted the Rigid Tool calendar with a naked “Miss July” hanging in the place of honor behind the cash register. Someone had given her a mustache. My head hurt from the loud banging, rhythmic, like a clock striking, going all the time. Wayne’s two Mexicans pounded metal out back, competing with 40 mph traffic on the street. The Golden Oldies station blared out the hits.

I couldn’t hear myself think except to think that Wayne was waiting for an answer. To think that I should get out now, be that lady my mother raised me to be. Cold hands. Cold heart. My mother. I could never tell her, she’d never understand about this. About why I do this. Over and over! About how crazy I get around the wrong kind of man, a man like Wayne, so crazy when he smoothed his black hair back from his face and wiped the sweat on his greasy jeans. Slumming, that’s what she’d call it.

But me, I never listened, I was too busy dreaming about how his blue work shirt was half unbuttoned. I could see the thick hair on his chest and the pocket of his shirt that said “Wayne” in big red letters. Crazy for his smell, his hands, big hands, calloused, black in the creases. I wondered what they’d feel like on my skin. I wondered what he meant by “I’ll make it worth your while.”

Wayne looked right at me as he hung up the phone. “Well,” he said. “What’s it gonna be?”


—From How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen: and other heart-stab poems (Sybaritic Press, 2014, Kindle edition); republished here by author’s permission

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